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Last on

Sat 17 Aug 2013 23:30 BBC Radio 4

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 11 August 2013

In The Sonnet and the Sword, Peggy Reynolds explores the world of the Elizabethan Court, through the poetry written by its courtiers. This is a unique exploration of the Elizabethan age, as the poetry written by the elite at the time, evokes a world where rivalry between courtiers was common, and flattering the Queen often involved much spectacle.

Poetry during the reign of Elizabeth I developed into a national literature, with courtiers as the elite consumers judging literary developments, and often being at the forefront of innovations themselves. Professor Steven May discusses the merits of this output, which often influenced those outside the court, such as Shakespeare. Dr Susan Doran also joins Peggy Reynolds, to examine the bigger picture, including religious intolerance, the war with Spain, and concern over the royal succession. These national themes are very present in the poetry of the court.

Throughout the program there'll be examples of the poetry from this period, and insights from other experts regarding this literature, and the reign of Elizabeth I.


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